Who I Am...

...And Why I Built This Website

Copper Canyon Train, MexicoH i! I'm Donna and this page is just to let you know that there's a real person behind all these words and pictures about San Miguel de Allende.

I was born and raised in California, have lived in London, Amsterdam, Chicago and New York. I liked them all. But none of those places have touched my heart and stirred my soul like San Miguel de Allende.

But this reaction to Mexico in general and San Miguel in particular pretty much blind-sided me. I was quite happy living in New York, traveling to Europe now and then. I was plotting about how to finance the next trip to Paris, or maybe southern Italy, when my husband came home one day and said he had to go to Mexico. "Mexico? Why?" I asked. "I don't know," he said. "I just know I have to go. My destiny lies in Mexico."

He's losing it, I thought. He'll get over it. "Now about Paris..." I began. But he was fixated on going to Mexico, so finally I told him to go and have a good time, come home happy.

He did. He traveled through the country for three weeks. And when he came back, he dumped out a bag full of stuff he'd bought. Suddenly the bed was covered in color. It looked like the southern sun had just poured into a walk-up apartment in New York's Greenwich Village. Masks, jewelry, bright paper mache fruit, colorful striped rebozos, carved Oaxacan alebrijes those fanciful little animals with stripes and polka dots and color. "We have to go back," he said. "You have to come too. You'll love it. Really. I know you. You'll love it."

"Oh, all right," I said, a bit grumpily. "We'll go to Mexico." Good-bye Paris.

But he was right. I came to Mexico and I loved it. Instantly and irrevocably. The color, the music, the food. Most of all the people of Mexico touched some part of me I never knew was there.

And then we came to San Miguel. I'd heard that San Miguel de Allende was a writers' and artists' colony and we were both writers, so we added a three-day stay to our itinerary.

I've already told you on the home page of this site that my relationship with San Miguel de Allende was a case of love at first sight, that I knew I was in my true "home" before I ever got off the bus into town. Before our three days were done, we'd made friends, looked at apartments, picked up class schedules for Spanish lessons at the Instituto Allende. We knew we were coming back.

He upon whose heart the dust of Mexico has lain will find no peace in any other land.
—Malcolm Lowry in Under the Volcano

That's how it started. Ten years and one divorce later, I was still in love with San Miguel de Allende.

What I didn't know when that first love-blow hit me was that I was far from unique in my reaction to San Miguel. The town just does that to people. Folks from all over the world come to San Miguel on vacation, fall hopelessly in love and never recover. They see what seems like a dream, the vision of a kind of life they never imagined—or assumed was impossible. They see people just like themselves living that dream every day, living in a place that is physically beautiful, warmly welcoming, spiritually uplifting, a community, a place that prods them into learning who they really are—or remembering who they used to be but somehow lost.

Then they go home. But the dream won't go away. That quiet little siren song called San Miguel keeps ringing in their ears. They realize that where they are and what they do and have "back home" is no longer enough.

And so they come "home" to San Miguel.

I built this website to help others who might be thinking about the dream, who also want to come "home" to themselves. I also built it for those who just want to visit. After all, when you love something so much, you want to share it.

But mainly, I built this website for myself, so that I can return to San Miguel de Allende, the home of my heart.

Leaving San Miguel...

After many years in San Miguel, I moved back north to be with my new life partner, Allen. We bought a store in the tiny town of Chloride, Arizona (pop. 400). It's one of those funky, funny little old mining towns that dot the Arizona hills, a "town at the end of the road." It's a stark but beautiful desert landscape, populated mostly by quirky folks and coyotes. The business has grown. If you live in Chloride and say you're going to "the store," we're it. We know everyone and like providing a vital service in this little town.

But retirement age is drawing near for us both, and the mere thought of continuing to work 10-12 hours a day, 364 days a year is exhausting. The town seems even smaller than when we first came here, the community a little stifling. And San Miguel keeps calling.

We've started making plans to sell the store and move back to San Miguel. But Social Security isn't going to cut it for us. And investment income can be iffy. We're going to need another source of income.

The Solution...

...was right in front of me, but it took a while to see it. I was comfortable using the computer. I even met Allen on the web! I could use email. I'd sold stuff on eBay. I thought maybe making money online might be the answer.

But I didn't have a clue how to do it. I read about a lot of the endless "get rich quick" scams that proliferate all over the internet. I even wasted money on a few of them. Then somehow—I don't even remember how—I came across SBI. It stands for Solo Build It, and it's the system I've used to build Experience San Miguel de Allende—and now some other sites too. SBI is designed to help people—ordinary people, just like me and you—to build websites around things they are passionate about—a hobby, a belief, a profession...a place.

Here's a brief video tour of how SBI works. (If you're on dial-up, it might be easier to check out this quick tour.)

A website can be about literally anything you love thinking and writing about. Check out these hundreds of successful SBI websites, built by ordinary people like you and me. All these sites are now in the top 1% of all websites on the internet. And look at the variety! They're all over the internet map!

I know what you're probably thinking. I don't know computer programming. I'm not a designer. I don't know how to do that! Neither did I. Neither did most of the people who built those sites. We didn't need to. With SBI, all you really need is BAM—Brains and Motivation. Because SBI provides everything else. They even have a module designed to help you decide what to build a website about and another that helps you discover how you can make money with it.

There are literally thousands of SBI websites now, and the people who build them are doing it with SBI. In fact, many of then love SBI so much they've even made videos about just why they do. Here's mine!

You can see a lot more of these fun and creative videos here.

Yes, there is a learning curve to SBI. But there's help at every step along the way and an amazing forum of other SBI users willing to answer every question you might have. There's also a full money-back guarantee, so there's no risk in giving it a try.

If you think building a website—to share a passion, serve a cause, promote a place or a business, and make money in the process—is something you'd like to explore further, then check out Solo Build It!

"Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing"
—Helen Keller

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